[Milton-L] "Particular Falls"

Matthew Jordan matthewjorda at gmail.com
Tue Jan 20 18:44:33 EST 2015


Ie. there are falls which are part of a larger movement or harmony, and
falls which, er, aren't...there is pattern or order to the late falls,
here, but it's static - or at least not, aha, regenerative...or summat...

On 20 January 2015 at 23:41, Matthew Jordan <matthewjorda at gmail.com> wrote:

> Sometimes particular verbal cruces get me going, sometimes more nebulous
> notions.
>
> I'm starting vague, here: Fortunate Fall (obv.), plus something I think I
> once read in Michael McKeon, tho I can hardly believe he was the first:
> that the idea of "poetic justice" takes hold in a world that no longer
> believes in the other kind...
>
> Please bear in mind it's rather later, here; at least for me...
>
> On 20 January 2015 at 21:44, john rumrich <rumrich at austin.utexas.edu>
> wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> The last three words are intriguing metrically, too, since after the
>> initial trochee (Never) the line changes from two successive iambic feet
>> (to hope to rise) to a trochee (Pity) and then to what in the metrical
>> context reads to me like an ambiguous iamb with a lot of stress on "their."
>>  *Their* god might not be god unmodified by a possessive.
>>
>> I'm not denying the Empsonian ambiguity; it strikes me as as even more
>> ambiguous than that, however.
>>
>> {This was bounced at first; I'm now sending a slightly modified version
>> from my institutional address.}
>>
>> On Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 3:26 PM, john rumrich <rumrichj at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>> The last three words are intriguing metrically, too, since the line
>>> changes from two successive iambic feet to a trochee and then to what reads
>>> to me like an ambiguous iamb with a lot of stress on "their."  *Their*
>>> god might not be god unmodified by a possessive.
>>>
>>> I'm not denying the Empsonian ambiguity; it strikes me as as even more
>>> ambiguous than that, however.
>>>
>>> On Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 2:36 PM, Matthew Jordan <matthewjorda at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Just very quickly (for now): the notion I had in mind was a kind of
>>>> step beyond Empson's view of Milton's God - that He's a horror, but horrors
>>>> are also pitiable and pitiful...I haven't thought through the rest of the
>>>> poem in light of that possibility...yet...
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On 20 January 2015 at 20:14, Stella Revard <srevard at siue.edu> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Okay, the real challenge of the poem is its last three words, in which
>>>>> I assume Rogers shocks us with what seems a request to her readers (us) to
>>>>> have pity on "their" god, and I assume the antecedent of "their" is the
>>>>> fallen angels.  (A possible alternative reading might take "pity" as a
>>>>> noun....)  What do you expert readers of poetry think is her point in those
>>>>> last three words, which seem to bring the whole poem to such a (to me)
>>>>> surprising completion?  Why pity, and why pity for "their god," not for the
>>>>> fallen beings in their hopeless eternal torment?  And would a good answer
>>>>> here bring out even more strongly the "Miltonic" dimensions of the poem?
>>>>> Maybe useful questions for MLK Day.
>>>>>
>>>>> With best wishes,
>>>>> Carter
>>>>>
>>>>> On 01/20/15, *Matthew Jordan * <matthewjorda at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> It may be almost too obvious to say, but the "Not...not..." thing (and
>>>>> "nec...nec"?) is typically Miltonic / epic...
>>>>>
>>>>> On 20 January 2015 at 16:15, Matthew Jordan <matthewjorda at gmail.com <
>>>>> matthewjorda at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Good stuff! Thanks.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> As a comparison / contrast, my recollection is that in eg. Augustine,
>>>>>> rather gruesomely (morbidly??), one of the pleasures of the saved is
>>>>>> precisely their good view of the suffering of the damned . . . (?)
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Best, Matt
>>>>>>
>>>>>> On 20 January 2015 at 16:06, Stella Revard <srevard at siue.edu <
>>>>>> srevard at siue.edu>> wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Thanks, Nancy, for sending on the poem by Pattiann Rogers.  She is
>>>>>>> one of the best poets now writing in the US, but has not been given her due
>>>>>>> by the cliquers and claquers of the Award Giving dumbasses.  And the
>>>>>>> Georgia Review prints a lot of veryt fine work. Nice to know you are
>>>>>>> reading it well.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> On 01/20/15, *Hannibal Hamlin * <hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com <
>>>>>>> hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Thanks. The use of enjambment (all that carefully positioned
>>>>>>> falling) also seems somewhat Miltonic.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Hannibal
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> On Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 2:36 AM, Nancy Charlton <
>>>>>>> charltonwordorder1 at gmail.com <charltonwordorder1 at gmail.com> <
>>>>>>> charltonwordorder1 at gmail.com <charltonwordorder1 at gmail.com>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> I felt that you all would enjoy this poem. Since I couldn't get
>>>>>>>> Poetry Daily to send it from their form, I'll take my chances with the
>>>>>>>> copyright police and simply copy it into this email.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> The last stanza (?) is particularly Miltonic.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Nancy Charlton
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Particular Falls
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Not as three strands of braided hair,
>>>>>>>> being loosened, fall then together in waves
>>>>>>>> to touch the shoulders; and not as a white-
>>>>>>>> winged hawk releases and falls sinking
>>>>>>>> on the wind until its wings swerve upward
>>>>>>>> riding the current again toward the sun.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Not the freefall that comes before
>>>>>>>> the parachute spreads and opens above
>>>>>>>> like a prayer and halts the plunge;
>>>>>>>> and not the tumbling fall of an acrobat
>>>>>>>> before he catches the trapeze his partner
>>>>>>>> drops as she falls to catch his feet.
>>>>>>>> Not any of those falls.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> And not the continual plummeting
>>>>>>>> fall of mountain snowmelt creating icy
>>>>>>>> weather in summer; nor the spider gliding
>>>>>>>> down her string, floating more than falling
>>>>>>>> in descent just as day falls and drifts
>>>>>>>> in its own ways into night; and not as one falls
>>>>>>>> with eyes closed into sleep where faith
>>>>>>>> is with the falling; nor as one falls
>>>>>>>> into love where riotous ascent begins
>>>>>>>> simultaneous with the falling.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> But consider the falling that is immutable:
>>>>>>>> the naked body of a nestling lying spilled
>>>>>>>> and broken on the sidewalk; wind-felled fruit,
>>>>>>>> sick odor of rotting pulp below the tree, slick
>>>>>>>> mass oozing into earth; the cold, frightening
>>>>>>>> stillness of those who lie fallen in battle.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> And remember the story of the bleakest
>>>>>>>> fall, the fall of those who once were angels,
>>>>>>>> who fell and fell into the deepest chasm
>>>>>>>> of blindness, irredeemable, never to rise,
>>>>>>>> never to hope to rise. Pity their god.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> PATTIANN ROGERS <http://poems.com/feature.php?date=16455>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> The Georgia Review <http://garev.uga.edu/>
>>>>>>>> Winter 2014
>>>>>>>>
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>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>> Hannibal Hamlin
>>>>>>> Professor of English
>>>>>>> The Ohio State University
>>>>>>> Author of *The Bible in Shakespeare*, now available through all
>>>>>>> good bookshops, or direct from Oxford University Press at
>>>>>>> http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199677610.do
>>>>>>> Editor, *Reformation*
>>>>>>> 164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall
>>>>>>> Columbus, OH 43210-1340
>>>>>>> hamlin.22 at osu.edu/
>>>>>>> hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com <hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com> <
>>>>>>> hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com <hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
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>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>
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